Ops or bust

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From covering news for the Journal last year to being this volume’s Opinions Editor, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of students on this campus.

What I’ve learned about the Queen’s student body is that many of us are well informed, opinionated and intelligent, and we care about issues that concern students and the broader community.

My job as Opinions Editor involves providing a formal platform for those who want to share their thoughts with this community.

My qualms, though, stem from the lack of community participation in the Opinions section. Although I haven’t held my position for very long, I’ve had few individuals approach me of their own volition with an idea for a piece.

The very reason the Opinions section exists is to give people a space to talk about something they care about, or something they believe is important. The section exists to serve the Queen’s community.

I understand that it’s my job to seek people out, and I’m more than happy to do so. But I don’t know every single person on this campus. All of you have things to say and issues you feel are important to highlight.

If you don’t come find me, I’ll never know who you are. You might have a great point to bring up about a certain topic that the broader community might want to consider.

I’m echoing former Opinions Editor Madison Bettle when she asked in her January 2010 editorial, "Opinions, anyone?", why more students weren’t asking to have their voices heard.

If you care enough to comment on our stories online, or to even discuss topics with friends or family, she said, you probably know enough to write. If you post about an issue on Facebook and Twitter, it’s likely you have something you want to say.

There’s a rich variety of voices at Queen’s, and they deserve to be heard. I can’t do this section justice if those who have a voice won’t take the opportunity to speak.

Trish Hall, the Op-Ed Editor at the New York Times, wrote in October 2013 that “Anything can be an Op-Ed. We’re not only interested in policy, politics or government. We’re interested in everything, if it’s opinionated and we believe our readers will find it worth reading.”

She also wrote that the Op-Ed section needs diversity, and that its content doesn’t necessarily have to align with the views presented in Times editorials.

I want to express the same type of standards for opinion pieces in the Journal.

I’m making a call out to the community to contribute if you care about something. Your views can inform others, change and question perspectives and ultimately make an impact on this campus and beyond.

That seems worth an email to me.

Olivia is the Journal’s Opinions Editor. She’s a fourth-year history major.

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